Saturday, December 27, 2014

Mincemeat and Murder

Where Short Story Ideas Come From. . .

I talked to my mother yesterday. I had sent her a copy of my Christmas short story "Holly, Hemlock & Mistletoe" in with her Christmas card. She's always been amazed at my stories and always wants to know where the ideas come from. She marvels at the fact that I actually have ideas, I guess. LOL. When she pressed me for details, I finally said I have more ideas than time to put them into stories.  True. But I really couldn't explain where some of them come from. She never believes me anyway since some of them are so convoluted it's hard to track the origin.

So, this morning I was relaxing and browsing online for recipes. I've recently gotten into making chutneys and such, and love tasting (in my mind) the mixtures of tart, tangy and sweet ingredients. I made two over the last few days—a delicious Pear Ginger Chutney and my annual Cranberry Sauce tarted up (literally) with oranges and candied ginger. (It's similar to Aunt Jewel's recipe for Cranberry Sauce except she's not brave enough to add the ginger. She says it gives her the colly-wobbles.)

I ran across a recipe for mincemeat, a traditional Christmas condiment. That brought back memories. My grandmother was fond of making and eating mincemeat, although as a child we hated the stuff. I wondered why that was since we'd loved her other concoctions. So I went in search for the origin of the stuff and ran across the phrase "Operation Mincemeat."

It seems that Operation Mincemeat was a WWII British "dis-information plan" carried out in order to fool the Germans into thinking that they had, by accident, intercepted 'top secret' documents.  According to an article in Wikipedia, the documents were attached to a corpse deliberately left to wash up on a beach in Spain.

 Ah, a corpse planted with false documents! Interesting! Pretty soon, my mystery-writer imagination went on overdrive and I had an idea for a story. There's still some thinking to be done, because I don't really write historical world war stories. Still, there's a hint of an idea there and actually several other authors over the years have felt the same way.

 I sure hope my mother doesn't ask for the origin of that story, because I'm not sure she'd believe it anyway.


Copyright © 2014 Bobbi A. Chukran. All rights reserved. 


Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Bobbi,

People always ask writers the origins of our books and stories. Very often fiction originates with fact. Many of my stories are faction as well. Nonfiction provides us with wonderful ideas. Congrats on your continued success in the mystery genre.

Bobbi A. Chukran, Author said...

Thanks, Jacqueline! I like that term, faction. Lots of my stories start with some little snippet of real life.